The Basilica of San Clemente in Rome has a long history. The present day 12th century church was thought to be the early Christian basilica mentioned by Jerome until the excavations in the 19th century. The still ongoing archaeological excavations at the site have exposed not only the “Lower Church” of the 5th century but also a horrea and a domus with a Mithraeum, reaching republican layers of Roman urban history. From the second half of 19th century on, the studies of San Clemente are numerous. Important names of architectural history and archaeology, such as Richard Krautheimer and Federico Guidobaldi, have made an enormous impact on the study of early Christian churches and San Clemente in particular. The 20 different building phases of the site are entangled and complicated and some of them have been erased almost completely during the last two millennia.The main theme of my dissertation concerns the building phases from the 3rd century throughout the 5th century when the first proper Christian basilica was finished. There have been conflicting theories about the function of the 3rd century building. The first theories saw St. Clement’s house church transformed into a domus ecclesiae and further to an aula ecclesiae and finally into a regular basilica below the present San Clemente. Several theories have been discussed and abandoned, but there are still unanswered questions about the 3rd century building’s function – whether it was an Imperial mint or a private building. The aim of this dissertation is a set of sequenced reconstructions of San Clemente along The London Charter principles of virtual archaeology through the typological developments of the Roman basilica and the late antique domus as a source of Roman Sakraltopographie. The aim of the dissertation is to shed light on these unanswered questions by creating new reconstructions of San Clemente and its urban context in 3D-models and GIS-based cartography. The bulk of Roman early Christian churches that were built in a hundred years time (350-450 AD) constitute a vast source of comparative material for my research. The data of the early Christian Roman basilica in general has been processed in typologies and tables with the aim to find the similarities in building history and urban location. This material is used along with the more traditional comparative evidence of literary sources. In the last decades the research of the late antique domus has developed greatly (Simon Ellis, Kimberly Bowes etc.). The relation of the domus to early Christian architecture has also been viewed in a new light in topographical, architectural and socio-economical terms. My conclusion, that the aula ecclesiae (a church built in the public space of a domus) was in fact the first building phase of San Clemente, is further based on late antique Roman urban history as well as the history of private patronage and ecclesiastical history.
|Translated title of the contribution||San Clemente in Rome : a new reconstruction of the early 5th century basilica and its origins|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
|MoE publication type||G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)|
- Christian architecture
- history of architecture